Friday, September 28, 2018

Devolution is real

We're pinheads now
We are not whole
We're pinheads all

~~ "Jocko Homo" by Devo

I can think of no better music for today than Devo. 

I honestly don't know how to write about today's Senate Judicial Committee hearing. I watched the entire 8+ hours with disgust, fascination, and despair. 

I feel sick. I feel heartsick. I feel sadness and disgust. 

And I am so fucking angry that I'm not sure how to process it. I thought writing it down might help, but I don't know. (Listening to some Devo is helping more than I had hoped! It seems that devolution is the order of the day.)

My thoughts on Dr. Ford's testimony are that she was credible, sympathetic, and likable. This entire process was new to her and she didn't have much of an idea of how to handle this or how to contact her representatives. I cried with her today (and I'll get into that a little more in a moment). 

My thoughts on Judge Kavanaugh's testimony is that he was overly emotional, combative, and kind of a jerk. I'm not the only one of my friends to wonder if he is an alcoholic and even if he was drunk during his testimony. It was beyond weird. 

I also realize that I am seeing things along partisan lines. I went into this prepared to believe Dr. Ford and already thinking that Kavanaugh had issues. My mind was not changed. 

Here's the thing: one accuser can be denied and brushed off. Two can maybe be the same. But when you get to three or more accusers of the same type of assault, you've got a real problem. And Brett Kavanaugh obviously has a real problem, on multiple levels. Any rational person would wonder why Senator Grassley refuses to call other corroborating or exculpatory witnesses and why he and other Republicans are so reluctant to support an FBI investigation. In fact, when Senator Durbin asked Kavanaugh if he would support an FBI inquiry, he was so flummoxed by the question that he sat in silence. Great job!

Here's another thing: the majority of women (and certainly some men) have been subjected to similar assault and harassment. Dr. Ford's testimony was emotional for many of us for just that reason. Like pretty much every woman, I've experienced my own moments that have stuck with me over the years. I won't mention every single one here because I don't feel like revisiting it all, but Dr. Ford's experience made me remember one incident in particular. 

It was my freshman year in college and I was just starting to break out of my "shy shell" of high school. I was 17. It was a whole new world for me in which guys found me attractive. For a shy bookworm, it was a heady feeling! I was at a party off-campus and there was plenty of booze. It wasn't uncommon to have what we called Hairy Buffalo at parties—a drink that was made in a big cooler, with fruit punch and maybe some fruit slices, and tons of alcohol, usually some Everclear. That is grain alcohol, which is 95% alcohol. It tasted like Kool-Aid, but it would mess you up. 

I don't remember if that's what I drank at that party, or if I just drank beer. Most college parties had a keg, too. I also don't remember if I met the guy in a class or somewhere else and he invited me to the party, or if someone invited me there and that's where I met the guy. I don't remember where the party was, only that it in a house off-campus. 

What I do remember is that I got drunk, and was talking to this guy. We went into a bedroom, but I don't remember if it was his or someone else's. I remember that there were bunk beds just to the left of the door as you walked into the bedroom, and we were on the bottom bunk. I remember that we made out and at some point, he was on top of me and getting more aggressive than I was comfortable with. I told him to stop and he didn't. He had his full weight on me and I couldn't move or get out from under him. I started getting scared and got more forceful about trying to get him off of me and tell him to stop. 

I don't remember what I did or said that finally made him stop enough so that I could get up and get out of that room. I don't remember how I got home, but I probably walked back to my dorm. A couple of days after the party, he came by my dorm room and when I looked through the peephole and saw it was him at the door, I hid in the closet and my roommates told him I wasn't there. He came back more than once and my roommates always covered for me and told him I wasn't there. My roommates were the only ones who knew about it. It never even occurred to me to report it to campus police or anyone else. Hey, he didn't rape me, right? 

I don't remember a lot of things about that incident, but I remember the situation. I remember that he was fairly tall, maybe 6', and he had curly blond hair. I also remember his full name. And thanks to the blessing/curse of social media, after I thought about all of this, I found out that he is on social media and he lives in my area, maybe 15 miles from me. It looks like he has a nice family and a nice life. 

I have a nice family and a nice life, too. But I still remember how scared I felt when he was on top of me on the bottom bunk of that bunk bed in a bedroom in a house off-campus at Ball State University. I bet he has no idea who I am and has no memory of me, the 5' tall, 100-pound freshman. 

But I remember him. Almost 40 years later, I remember him.